A dachshund races across the field at the St. Luke's Great Dachshund Stampede 2014, Oct. 4.

Hot dog! It’s the Great Dachshund Stampede

LA UNION, NM — Call them wiener dogs, hot dogs or dachshunds. The folks who turned out for the Great Dachshund Stampede 2014 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church just call them a lot of fun. According to the Rev. Daniel Cave, more than 100 dachshunds from three states came out for the highlight of the church’s annual country fair on Oct. 4, 2014.

Gallery: The Street Photography of David Smith-Soto

Images from David Smith-Soto’s 60-years of street photography were taken during his travels as a journalist in Latin American, European and U.S. cities.  They include images from Oaxaca, Ciudad Juarez, Guatemala, Tangier, Paris and Madrid. Related Story: Street Photography exhibit, rare Beatles print to help journalism students



Love and death visit Handel’s Acis and Galatea in a Bhutanese cremation field

EL PASO –The German composer G.F. Handel took his genius to London in the 18th century and in the 21st century the University of Texas at El Paso transported him to Bhutan. Famous for its century-old campus of Bhutanese architecture, UTEP has always been a beacon of diversity in the Chihuahuan desert, so no eyebrows were raised when the melodies of Handel’s Acis and Galatea were performed before dancers in skull masks. Tshering Goen, a musician from Bhutan and one of the program coordinators, described the opera as incorporating elements that both cultures can relate to. “From the story we can learn the nature in death, the love, and we can see the eccentricity of transformation of one’s life,” he said. Goen also danced in the opera, bringing Bhutanese music and culture into the performance.

Fifty years later, it’s déjà vu all over again in Madrid


MADRID, Spain — Fifty years ago I walked into the Palace Hotel here looking for a cup of coffee and was promptly escorted out by two burly guards. It was Spain at the height of the fascist Franco dictatorship and, at 19, my buddy Mike and I probably looked like communists or worse, like the hippie kids we were, backpacking through Europe, sleeping in youth hostels for 30-cents a night and bathing once every couple of weeks. I carried two Leica cameras with me, my only possessions other than the shirt on my back, and I documented every step of our wanderings from Luxembourg where Icelandic Airlines dropped us off, across the Mediterranean to North Africa where penniless in Tangier we had to scrounge to get back to Madrid. In Madrid, we avoided the museums and any semblance of establishment culture, after all we were following in Hemingway’s footsteps and we spent our time guzzling raspy red wine at the bullfights, scouring for señoritas and scratching poetry on napkins in the cafes. After shooting the bird at the Palace hotel, we walked back to the center of town to our usual haunts near the Plaza Mayor.

One last round – Juarez boxing legend considers a last fight

EL PASO — With fading tattoos over his body and muscles giving way to extra body fat, the once middleweight underdog champion coaches young kids in a brand new downtown Juarez boxing gym arguing with himself whether he should fight one last time to say farewell to his longtime fans. “I don’t really care for being a champ or regaining fame,” said Juarez boxer Kirino Garcia. “What I need is a good offer to have a farewell fight.”

The prospect of getting back into shape after five years without stepping into the ring is challenging and expensive. The 46-year-old Kirino says he’s waiting for the right offer to resume his training regimen. The beloved underdog boxer grew up in the poorest colonias of Juarez and was able rise up to the top of his profession by acquiring a bunch of prestigious titles: Mexican light middleweight title, WBB light middleweight title, WBC International Light Middleweight title, and the Mexican Light Heavyweight title.

Birth of her son moves her to overcome learning delays from childhood meningitis

CIUDAD JUAREZ — Rocio Jiménez, 31, lives in colonia La Cuesta, one of the poorest sections of this city, in a small two-bedroom house with her husband and six-year-old son. Although she seems to have a normal life, Jiménez has suffered since childhood from disabilities caused by meningitis. The illness left her unable to learn to communicate clearly, but determined to improve her life, she finally learned to read and write when she turned 30. Jiménez never asked for help, but she was determined to overcome adversity, said her mother, Irma Rodriguez, who describes Jiménez as courageous and stubborn.  

Meningitis is an inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain or spinal cord.

Joven terapeuta apoya a víctimas de crímenes violentos en Ciudad Juárez

CIUDAD JUÁREZ – Día tras día Omar Morales es testigo del trauma que ha vivido esta ciudad y que aunque según estadísticas la violencia ha disminuido un 84 por ciento desde el año 2010, sigue causando estragos en la población más vulnerable, las víctimas de crímenes violentos. Morales, de 24 años, es un joven estudiante de psicología originario de Ciudad Juárez que trabaja como terapeuta en el área de atención a víctimas para la Fiscalía del Estado de Chihuahua. Su oficina está localizada sobre el Eje Vial Juan Gabriel y la calle Aserraderos, en una de las zonas más transitadas de la ciudad. “Tuve una gran oportunidad de tener este trabajo,” menciona Morales, quien lleva poco más de un año con el equipo de aproximadamente 75 personas que atienden a víctimas de violencia.Como psicólogo de atención a víctimas, Morales trabaja con personas que tienen que vivir con las secuelas físicas y emocionales que son causadas por el crimen organizado en la ciudad. Uno de los casos que más recuerda es el de un niño de solamente cinco años que perdió a su padre.

Volunteering finds its way from the classroom into the community

EL PASO — The concept of volunteer work is evolving rapidly within higher education as a relatively new idea called service learning, which transforms book learning into hands-on work in the community. According to Campus Compact, a national coalition of public and community service organizations, 44 per cent of college students participated in some form of volunteer work during the 2011-2012 academic year, an estimated $9.7 billion worth of service to their communities. Hector Garza, a junior studying political science at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, describes service learning as early career training for a college student. He explained that “service learning actually gives you the opportunity take it to the community and actually see what you are learning and how it comes to life.”

Service learning takes place worldwide impacting millions of students and communities. This past April, 1, 400 high school students, college professors, teachers, and non profit representatives from the U.S. and other countries gathered at the 26th Annual Service Learning Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Monumental Conference, as it was named, offered many 90-minute workshops to sharpen and educate attendees about service learning with tools, resources, and ideas to better serve their communities.

El Paso del Norte Youth Leadership Forum

EL PASO — Place yourself in the shoes of a graduating high school senior, approaching the real world unaware of what to expect. Now place yourself in the shoes of a graduating high school senior with a disability. As appealing the idea of college may seem, most graduating students with disabilities lack the confidence and resources they need to get there. The El Paso del Norte Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a local community event that happens once a year in October. The forum has been around for 12 years strong and is going on its 13th year.

About 25 people participate in the Huerto Amistad garden on Beverly Ann in San Elizario. The garden was started in 2013. (Kirstie Hettinga/Borderzine.com)

Water, commitment are challenges for sustainable gardens in El Paso

EL PASO — San Elizario, Texas is a newborn city with a long history. The area was established in the mid-18th century as part of the Spanish colonial mission trail, but it’s only been officially incorporated since November 2013 and its first mayor took office on May 22, 2014. The rich history of San Elizario is largely agricultural and according to Mayor Maya Sanchez, honoring those roots and protecting the rural community is critical. “My family goes back five generations in San Elizario. It’s an agricultural community, historically has been.

A creamy heart enhances a cup of freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee from BLDG 6 Coffee Roasters in east El Paso.(Michael Marcotte/Borderzine.com)

New craft coffee culture brewing in El Paso

EL PASO — Wake up and smell the craft coffee, El Paso. The national craft coffee craze has slow-dripped its way into town, and three entrepreneurs hope locals perk up, take notice and embrace the new brew. Sales of craft or specialty coffees have given the U.S. industry a jolt, helping to drive up revenue 7.4 percent last year to $11 billion, according to the research firm IBISWorld. The trend of drinking a $3-$8 cup of java made from premium, exotic beans from around the world and lovingly roasted on the spot by certified artisans has been piping hot in cities such as Seattle, Portland and Dallas. In the last year, the trend has percolated into El Paso where it is slowly catching on.

Food truck park growing clientele in Downtown El Paso but still facing challenges

EL PASO — Until recently, Lydia Palacios could not remember the last time she had been downtown. A lifelong El Paso resident, Palacios said downtown was more a childhood memory than a current event. “My father would take us on the bus downtown and take us to Kress to eat lunch,” said Palacios referring to S.H. Kress & Co., the five-and-dime with a lunch counter on the northwest corner of North Oregon Street and Mills Avenue. On her way to a doctor’s appointment on a recent Monday in June, Palacios said she and her husband, Sergio, were doing something they had not done in many years – lunching together downtown. The two sat at an umbrella-covered table waiting for the fish tacos they had ordered from The Reef Mobile Kitchen, a food truck on Mills Street that serves seafood Mexican fare.

Football players give praise and express concern after gay all-American ‘comes out’

EL PASO — To his dad, he is one who will have “many hurdles to cross”. To his University of Missouri teammates and coaches, he is first-team all-American and Associated Press defensive player of the year in the SEC. To athletes and sports affiliates he is a “courageous young man” and a football player. To some though, he is the gay football player. He is Michael Sam.

Capoeira displays its Brazilian and African martial arts roots in dance and music

EL PASO — In the Capoeira Quinto Sol studio in Central El Paso, dozens of people recently practiced gingas, aús, and escorpião kicks to the beat of an exotic wooden bow-shaped instrument called berimbaus and a drum called atabaque. The dancers were preparing for the worldwide Brazilian batizado celebration. Capoeira is a type of martial art with roots in Brazil and Africa and was developed by the African slaves that were brought to Brazil in the 16th century to work the sugarcane plantations by the Portuguese. Because Capoeira uses elements of dancing in its execution, the African slaves used the ruse of dance to avoid being punished by their Portuguese masters for practicing self-defense methods. Although Capoeira was, at first, developed for self-defense, it can also be practiced for many different reasons.

Undergraduates learn to explain each others’ research to a lay audience

EL PASO – Computer science and special education majors do not normally meet to discuss each other’s research, but Amanda Sepulveda and Garrett Shaw met throughout the spring 2014 semester to share research in preparation for a competition funded by the Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI). Sepulveda is a special education major researching autism spectrum disorder, and Shaw is a computer science major researching optimization of high performance computing. They made up the winning team among the 50 that competed in COURI’s, “Explaining Research to a Non-Expert Audience” competition April 16-17. The competition was a prelude to a two-day undergraduate research symposium hosted by COURI that gave undergraduates the chance to present and discuss their research with faculty, peers, and the El Paso community. COURI was founded to help engage undergraduates in scholarly research.

Juárez es una ciudad hostil para los discapacitados, con calles que son trampas mortales para los ciegos

Sabina Olivas también contribuyó en este reportaje.  

CIUDAD JUÁREZ — Con ropas sucias, peinado descuidado y lentes oscuros  Armando Martínez, 62, deambula y encuentra cobijo entre las calles del Centro Histórico de la ciudad. Dice que es ciego, pero asegura que la diabetes que padece desde que tenía treinta años de edad no fue la causa. Junto a las escaleras de la céntrica sucursal Bancomer de la  Avenida Juárez, Martínez sostiene en su mano derecha la mitad de una botella de plástico en la que los transeúntes colocan las pocas monedas que le dan. Con un audífono en el oído derecho y un cable que le recorre el pecho, canta con tono desafinado una melodía que no se llega a comprender.

El Paso reacts with skepticism to Chapo Guzman’s capture

EL PASO — On February 14, 2014, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was captured in a small, rather dull condominium. Guzman ran a drug business worth approximately $3 billion, and he has been on the run from Mexican officials since his first escape from prison in 2001. According to Mexican officials, he escaped jail the first time by simply bribing prison guards and walking out the front gate. However, this escape was highly romanticized and eventually grew into a daring urban legend. Guzman’s most recent capture has left borderland residents with mixed emotions ranging from elation to apathy.

La captura de El Chapo suscita ola de escepticismo

CIUDAD JUAREZ — La captura de Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán el 22 de febrero en Mazatlán, Sinaloa suscitó diferentes opiniones en Ciudad Juárez, una comunidad que vivió en los últimos años la más cruenta guerra de su historia por ser un punto estratégico para la exportación de narcóticos a los Estados Unidos. Para la población fronteriza que vivió prácticamente a fuego cruzado, el nombre del “Chapo” Guzmán ha sido sinónimo de muerte y destrucción. Su detención produjo especulación por las posibles razones y consecuencias de su captura. “Se pensó que el narcotráfico controlaba al gobierno”, dijo el sacerdote católico Freud Cuéllar, “pero su detención nos dice que el gobierno ya no lo necesitaba”. Además, Cuéllar considera vergonzoso que durante 13 años nunca pudo ser localizado un hombre que fue catalogado por la revista Forbes como uno de los más ricos y poderosos del mundo.

Sticks and stones can break your bones but cyberbullying can kill you

EL PASO — Rudy Sanchez’ sad eyes peered through tears below the beanie that nearly covered them as he stood in the empty living room of his Lower Valley home where his 14-year-old daughter, Viviana Aguirre, had committed suicide after being bullied online by a friend. Sanchez, 43, described how Viviana went to bed the night of January 2and left one final message on her Facebook account. “Before I do this, thank you to all who tried to keep me up. But hey, it didn’t work. Bye.”

Although most cases of bullying don’t usually end in death, it is a growing and serious problem among students, experts say.